Police raid case dismissed

A case filed by a businessman alleging breach of human rights as a result of a police raid at his business property at Kamusi, in Western Province, has been dismissed by the National Court.

It was dismissed because liability, or who was responsible for the breach, was not established against a timber company, police and others who allegedly conducted the raid.

Andy Asuma is a businessman operating Andy Asuma Trading in a remote location near the Kamusi logging camp in Western Province.

He conducted his business near a timber rights purchase area where Wawaoi Guavi Timber Company Ltd had its logging operations.

On Friday 29 April, 2011, there was a police raid on his business property, where police allegedly set fire to and bulldozed five buildings, destroying many other properties.   

Asuma and others claimed they were unlawfully assaulted and detained and their human rights breached by the police officers involved.

He was taken to the Kamusi police station where he was assaulted and forced to admit that he was selling alcohol and other drugs at his store.

He was put on a barge and taken to Balimo, only to learn later that police burnt down his store and other properties, in excess of K18 million.

This led to seven separate legal proceedings which resulted in a joint trial.

Police told court the raid was a routine police operation following numerous complaints and evidence of large scale drug smuggling operations in the Kamusi area.

There was no court order authorising the raid, destruction of property or the eviction of Asuma and others.

They were not taken to court during the two-week period of interrogation.

Asuma and others proved that their rights of the constitution; Section 42 (Liberty), section 44 (freedom from arbitrary search and entry), section 53 (protection from unjust deprivation of property), section 36 (freedom from inhuman treatment and section 37 (the full protection of the law) were breached.

However, they failed to provide sufficient evidence that police were responsible for the proven breaches of their human rights. The state was not listed as a defendant in the case either.   

Since no liability or responsibility was established against any of the defendants, the human rights case was dismissed. 

(The Kamusi area)

Sally Pokiton